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Drawings from the Winston Churchill exhibit. | Courtesy Austin Gergens

Decades have passed since Winston Churchill’s death, but Curtis Hooper’s dra­matic graphite drawings of the World War II era prime min­ister are as lifelike as ever.

“While many only know Churchill for his wartime lead­ership, the gallery is very unique in that it con­tains vignettes drawn from throughout his entire life,” Churchill Fellow and senior Ross Hatley said.

In the 1970s, English artist Curtis Hooper was com­mis­sioned by Churchill’s second daughter to create what would become known as “A Visual Phi­losophy of Winston Churchill.”

This com­plete col­lection of works based off of pho­tographs selected by Sarah Churchill is on display in the Daughtery Gallery through Nov. 20.

Among the 27 original drawings, eight have a nearly iden­tical lith­o­graph with Hooper’s and Sarah Churchill’s sig­na­tures, as well as an embossment and Winston Churchill quote.

“Very few full col­lec­tions of these prints exist,” said Senior Fellow for the Churchill Project Richard Lang­worth, in an article titled “Sarah Churchill – Curtis Hooper Prints.”

A sig­nif­icant portion of the exhibit focuses on Churchill’s accom­plish­ments during the war, but also on aspects of his life that are less often por­trayed by other artists.

To the left of the entrance hangs a drawing titled, “I have no fear of the future. Let us go forward into its mys­teries,” and depicts the face of Churchill as a schoolboy in the left fore­ground. Hooper con­trasts this youthful inno­cence with an expe­ri­enced and aged face of Churchill in his later years. On the right of the page is a sketch of Churchill, back turned toward the viewer, walking forward into the mys­teries of the future.

The next drawing shows Churchill in his mid-20s as a war cor­re­spondent during the Boer War. With his slightly pursed lips and cocked hat, his face exudes great con­fi­dence. His service over­lapped with Lt. Gen. Robert Baden-Powell, who would later become a national hero and founder of the Boy Scouts.

Hooper drew one picture that showed Churchill painting in Nor­mandy, titled “A hobby is of the first impor­tance to a public man.”

Churchill was a pro­lific writer, but also pro­duced several hundred paintings in the latter half of his life. He enjoyed painting so much that he wrote a book titled “PAINTING as a Pastime” to teach others the beauty of painting.

“It’s a won­derful book about painting, and it isn’t very long either,” said Pro­fessor of Art Barbara Bushey.

Hooper finds a way to rep­resent all sig­nif­icant ele­ments of Churchill’s life. Some of the pieces reflect the deep depression that plagued Churchill for most of his exis­tence. In par­ticular, the sketches of him during the war are marked by pro­found sadness.

“I really like how Hooper finds some­thing dif­ferent to depict in his face every time,” sophomore Jonathan Meckel said. “None of faces are quite the same.”

Hooper covers the immense swath of Winston Churchill’s life with only graphite: peacetime painting in a civilian suit, nego­ti­a­tions with Pres­ident Roo­sevelt, Clementine Churchill super­im­posed on a sil­houette of her husband, and Churchill standing tall in hon­orary colonel uniform are just a few examples.

“Take a moment to expe­rience an artistic syn­thesis of the great statesman,” Hatley said.

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    do any promi­nently feature the cigar he was known for?